CatGenie is an environmentally-friendly, self-washing, self-flushing cat box in the shape of a toilet bowl. It is a product of PetNovations, a Pennsylvania-based company that takes pride in its innovative, extensively tested products designed to enhance the animal lover experience.
The cat box was created by a rocket scientist and a team of engineers and it is completely unique in its design and the technology it employs. It uses special Washable Granules instead of litter, the cleaning and waste disposal processes are fully automated, and the cat guardian is left with nothing to do but occasionally top up the granules and replace the specially designed cartridge that dispenses the cat-safe washing solution.
If you are intrigued by this concept, stick around and learn all about this unusual cat toilet in our detailed CatGenie review.
How CatGenie Works
CatGenie is a complex device that makes matters simple for cat guardians. While it does resemble a toilet bowl, it features multiple additional elements that play important roles during the automated cleaning cycle and reduce the need for human intervention to the bare minimum.
Essential Elements Of CatGenie
The key elements of CatGenie include the base, the brim attached to the base, the cat bowl encircled by the brim, the processing unit, a.k.a. the CatGenie Brain, the Genie Hand that scoops the solids, the Hopper where solids are liquefied, and the control panel used to program the device.
Although this list may seem overwhelming on its own, keep in mind that these are only the essential parts of the cat box; there are plenty other elements that serve specific purposes and make it possible for CatGenie to be fully automated and safe to use. The bowl is filled with permanent Washable Granules that act as an eco-friendly, dust-free replacement for litter. On top of the cat box, there is a slot for the SaniSolution cartridge that contains the cat-safe sanitizing fluid used to clean the box.
CatGenie Modus Operandi
CatGenie eliminates liquid and solid waste in different ways. When your cat goes, the liquids pass through the bed of Washable Granules and they drain into a reservoir with SaniSolution that eliminates odors.
The solids are scooped by the automated Genie Hand, with the bowl rotating to aid the scooping process. Once it scoops the waste, the Genie Hand drops it into the Hopper chamber, where the solid waste is liquefied with the help of an impeller, water, and SaniSolution.
The waste is automatically flushed out of your home, just like with a regular toilet. Once the waste is removed, clean water and SaniSolution sanitizing liquid flow into the bowl and the washing process begins. The bowl rotates, allowing the Genie Hand to scrub the granules and the bowl, thus dissolving any remaining waste and killing germs and unpleasant odors.
With the bowl and the granules clean and odor-free, it is time for the final phase of the process. The Genie Hand sifts the granules and the hot-air blower dries them, leaving a dry and level bed of litter-like granules for your cat to use. The entire cleaning process takes less than half an hour. The process can start automatically, manually or it can be cat-activated.
Setting Up CatGenie
In order to work, CatGenie needs to be hooked up to a cold water intake and a waste-water drain and it needs an electrical outlet, that is, a power source. Thus, it should be placed in a bathroom or laundry room. Together with your CatGenie, you get everything you need to install the appliance, including T-adapters necessary to hook it up. You only need a pair of pliers or a wrench in addition to the elements provided.
The manufacturer claims that you do not need the assistance of a plumber, as the setup is simple, DIY, and takes just about 15 minutes. This may be true if you are used to doing such work around the house. However, we found the setup guide to be insufficiently clear to allow an inexperienced user to easily complete the setup. Plus, if you do something wrong, you may have to deal with leakages, malfunctions or potential damage. In that case, in spite of the 2-year warranty, the manufacturer may refuse to repair your CatGenie due to damages caused by improper use.
Unless you are completely sure you know how to set up CatGenie after reading the instructions, we recommend asking someone more experienced to help with installation, be it a friend or a professional.
We mentioned previously that CatGenie features a control panel that allows you to choose from 3 start cycle options. These include Cat Activation, Auto Start, and Push Start.
Cat Activation is the recommended mode. In this mode, the device automatically starts the cleaning cycle after your cat uses the box. It knows that your cat has visited the box thanks to the cat motion sensor also known as Genie Eyes. You can program the device to be awake for 14 hours and inactive for 10 hours a day or have it working round the clock.
You can further choose between the 10-minute and 30-minute delay before cleaning. If you only have 1 cat or 2 or 3 cats that only want to use a completely clean litter box, you can set your CatGenie to start the cycle 10 minutes after the cat does the business. If you have cats that go together and do not care if there is some waste in the box, you can choose the 30-minute delay.
To program Cat Activation, you need to press and hold the Auto Setup button on the control panel until the Cat LED lights up along with one of the 4 numbered LEDs. The #1 LED is for the 10-minute delay in the 14-hour mode, the #2 LED is for the 30-minute delay in the 14-hour mode, the #3 LED is for the 10-minute delay in the 24-hour mode, and the #4 LED is for the 30-minute delay in the 24-hour mode. Then press and hold the Auto Setup button for 4 seconds for the 14-hour mode or 5 seconds for the 24-hour mode.
If you opt for Cat Activation, a single SaniSolution cartridge will be good for 240 cleaning cycles.
The Auto Start mode lets you program your CatGenie to automatically start the cleaning cycle every 6, 8, 12 or 24 hours. To program Auto Start, you need to press and release the Auto Setup button as many times as you want CatGenie to complete the cleaning cycle (1, 2, 3 or 4 times per day).
In the Auto Start mode, a single SaniSolution cartridge is good for 120 cleaning cycles.
Push Start is the manual start option. You simply need to push the Start button to instruct CatGenie to start the cleaning cycle. This option is useful if you want to inspect feces before they are flushed, to check for possible health problems. It can also come in handy when the device is asleep in the Cat Activation mode, as you can force the device to start the cleaning cycle in spite of it being in sleep mode.
In the Push Start mode, one SaniSolution cartridge is good for 120 cleaning cycles.
Cleaning & Maintenance
As explained earlier in this CatGenie review, we are talking about a self-cleaning device that does not require you to do any manual cleaning. For more great news, it does not require any manual maintenance either.
You simply need to purchase inexpensive maintenance cartridges and insert a cartridge into your CatGenie every 2-4 months. The content of the cartridge removes lime deposits and grime from hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, including the water sensor and drain holes and helps your CatGenie work properly.
Apart from using maintenance cartridges, you just need to add some granules from time to time and get a new SaniSolution cartridge once the old one runs out of sanitizing liquid. You know that you need to replenish granules if the bed level is below the safe-level line. You never need to replace all the granules because they are washable and permanent.
As far as the SaniSolution cartridge goes, the Cartridge LED on the control panel lights up when the cartridge has only 10 cycles left and a beep sounds when only 3 cycles are left. That way, you are alerted when it is time to replace the cartridge.
CatGenie Design & Dimensions
When you look at CatGenie for the first time, you are sure to notice that this gray-and-white cat box is designed to look like a plastic toilet bowl for cats. The processing unit, the cat motion sensor, the control panel, the SaniSolution cartridge slot, the Hopper, and the Genie Hand all reside within a cistern-like construction located above the bowl with Washable Granules. The bowl or basin rests on a base with a brim attached.
The device features a solid construction and it is made of durable materials. The external parts are made of solid plastic, the pins are made of aluminum, and the motor is made of heavy-duty, industry-grade materials. The device is rather compact but provides plenty of room for your cat to use it comfortably. It measures:
- 24.5 inches in length
- 19.25 inches in width
- 21 inches in height
- 17 inches in bowl diameter, which amounts to 230 square inches of usable cat space
The design is unusual, but the bowl with granules is simple, spacious, and inviting. Its sides are low enough for cats of different sizes to enter it easily. Generally speaking, the design is rather cat-friendly and the dimensions were determined with cat comfort in mind.
Being completely unique, CatGenie has many elements and features that you should get acquainted with before using the device. Here are the most prominent characteristics of CatGenie that make it a one-of-a-kind cat hygiene solution.
With CatGenie, you do not have to worry about scooping, cleaning, and maintenance; everything is fully automated. The device scoops the solids, drains the liquids, flushes all the waste out of your home, cleans the granules and the bowl, and uses special maintenance cartridges. It is a hands-free solution and all the manual labor starts and ends with the installation.
3 Cleaning Cycle Modes
As described previously in this CatGenie review, this cat box lets you choose from 3 start cycle options. Whether you want to manually start the cycle, instruct the device to start the cycle automatically once or a couple of times a day or let the self-cleaning cycle start after your cat does his or her business, you can easily program CatGenie in accordance with your desires.
Unlike litter, Washable Granules are permanent, dust-free, and eco-friendly. They are smooth, non-toxic, biodegradable, and budget-friendly, as they do not need to be replaced, just replenished.
SaniSolution is a special sanitizing liquid that is not only cat-safe but also powerful, as it eliminates germs and odors, dissolves leftover waste, and keeps the box and granules perfectly clean. It is specifically designed for cleaning the CatGenie cat box, which makes it safer and superior in comparison to other cleaning solutions.
Genie Hand does all the scooping for you. It is an automated hand that collects and removes solid waste and sends it to the Hopper chamber, where it is liquefied and eventually flushed out. It also sifts and aerates the granules, making them nice and comfy for your cat.
Genie Eyes is the name of the cat sensor that enables Cat Activation but also takes care of your cat’s safety. It recognizes cat movement, informing the device when to start the cleaning cycle and when to pause it.
Hopper is a chamber with an impeller that receives the solid waste once it has been scooped. Its role is to enable waste dissolution, preventing large solids from clogging up the pipes.
Unlike some automated litter boxes, CatGenie comes with a child-lock option that prevents children and cats from inadvertently changing the settings, starting a cleaning cycle or generally activating buttons on the control panel.
Is CatGenie Right For My Cat(s)?
CatGenie is best suited for cats that are curious, open to novelty, and not overly sensitive to noise. It can work for both shy and extroverted cats, as the bowl is open-top but the manufacturer offers a custom-designed hood that can give cats a sense of privacy.
The cat box is suitable for up to 3 cats. It is best suited for 1 or 2 cats weighing up to 20 pounds, but it can be used by 3 smaller cats that do not mind sharing a box. CatGenie should not be used by particularly young kittens (8 weeks or younger) and it works best for cats aged 6 months or older. Elderly cats may have a hard time adjusting to the unusual design and noise.
Is CatGenie Safe For My Cat(s)?
Considering that CatGenie is an automated cat box that replaces litter with specially designed granules and uses sanitizing liquid to clean the granules and the bowl, we spent a significant amount of time researching whether this device is completely safe to use. Fortunately, the answer to this question is positive.
The product itself does not contain any elements that could harm your cat. The bowl is smooth, the electric components are carefully hidden within the construction, eliminating shock hazards, and there are no sharp elements, not even in the Genie Hand.
The sanitizing liquid is tested safe for cats and the granules are non-toxic and made of pet-safe synthetic and natural ingredients. Even if your cat swallows them, they will just pass through the digestive system without endangering your pal’s health.
On top of that, the device is designed to pause the cleaning cycle if a cat enters the bowl, so even if your friend jumps in mid-cycle, the chances of injury are minimized. Thus, we can conclude that CatGenie is perfectly safe to use.
CatGenie Training Tips
CatGenie is far from an ordinary litter box. Therefore, it may take some time for your furry friend to get accustomed to it, depending on his or her personality, natural curiosity, and attitude toward novelty. The manufacturer of CatGenie offers some useful tips on how to introduce your cat to the new litter box and how to make the transition as smooth as possible.
First of all, it is important to act natural and casual around CatGenie and allow your cat to explore it thoroughly. Praise your cat and offer treats during explorations in order to help form positive associations with the new litter box.
Keep the old litter box next to CatGenie, but do not clean it. Cats prefer clean litter boxes and once the old one is too dirty to use, your cat is likely to stop using it and move on to the new, clean box.
Unfortunately, you cannot mix used, familiarly-scented litter with Washable Granules in CatGenie since this would cause malfunctions. However, if it is hard for your cat to get used to CatGenie, you can try pouring Washable Granules into the old litter box to enable gradual acclimation.
At first, the unfamiliar sound emitted during the cleaning cycle may startle your cat. That is why it is recommended to start the cleaning cycle manually in your cat’s absence the first couple of days so as not to frighten your friend. Once your cat starts using CatGenie regularly, you can introduce your friend to the cleaning cycle by starting it with both of you in the room. Be sure to pet and reassure your cat during the process to show him or her that there is nothing to be afraid of. According to PetNovations’ cat behaviorists, cats learn to associate the cleaning cycle with cleanliness and get accustomed to it relatively quickly.
The manufacturer reports that about 95% of cats that used CatGenie took to it quite easily. If you need assistance, you can read the CatGenie Cat Acclimation Protocols, a handy guide supposedly written by a renowned cat trainer (although we could not find information on who this famous cat trainer actually is). Alternatively, you can reach out to CatGenie’s support staff via phone.
Cost & Returns
CatGenie self-washing, self-flushing cat box costs $239.97. It comes with 1 box of Washable Granules, 1 SaniSolution cartridge, and manuals and T-adapters for installation. Since the cat box does not use regular litter and requires the use of special SaniSolution cartridges, you can only purchase and use the supplies provided by the CatGenie manufacturer, PetNovations. Fortunately, the prices are budget-friendly.
One SaniSolution cartridge costs just $24.99 (good for 120-240 washes), 1 box of Washable Granules costs $23.99 (good for 4-6 months), and a 4-pack of maintenance cartridges (good for 8-16 months) costs only $19.99. Plus, the manufacturer offers plenty of money-saving bundles, so you only need to spend about $100 on supplies per year.
Shipping is free within the contiguous US. CatGenie is also available in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, Australia, China, Israel, Italy, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK, and Ukraine, with varying shipping costs. CatGenie comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee and a 2-year warranty.
Does CatGenie Live Up To Expectations?
Although innovative and impressively designed, CatGenie is not without flaws. First of all, it is not that easy to set up. Second, the granules it uses are not absorbent, so as long as there is some waste in the bowl, the box will be stinky. Further, the cleaning cycle is long and can get rather noisy, which can be unpleasant for both the cats and the cat guardians. Since the device uses only cold water, even with the powerful sanitizing liquid, there may be some residue. Plus, clogging does happen occasionally, even with the liquefying process in the Hopper.
Keeping all these potential issues in mind, CatGenie does not fully live up to expectations. However, with such complex devices, perfection is hardly attainable and malfunctions can happen. That being said, the device does normally work as expected, it is environmentally friendly, and it does not even require you to throw out the waste. Thus, if it is cleaned regularly to prevent the box from getting stinky and if maintenance cartridges are used frequently, most problems listed above can be easily solved. Plus, running the device in the Cat Activation mode eliminates about 90% of common issues.
- Fully automated cleaning, flushing, and maintenance processes
- Manual, automatic, and cat-activated start cycle options
- Permanent, biodegradable, non-toxic Washable Granules
- Powerful, cat-safe, odor-killing SaniSolution sanitizing liquid
- Cat motion sensor
- Suitable for most cats
- Completely safe to use
- Child lock
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- 2-year warranty
- Non-absorbent granules
- Complicated setup process
- Long and noisy cleaning cycles
- Occasional clogging